Dude Ranch Vacations
What is a Dude Ranch?
If you've ever wondered what it was like to be a rancher, but don't quite feel like buying a ranch and committing to full-time care of animals, you can still find out what the ranch life is like. Whether it's for your own curiosity, or to teach your children about honest hard work, there are ranches that will teach you the ins and outs of ranching. You will be expected to participate in the ranch and live with the ranch owners as a family.
This sounds like work, how is it a vacation?
Relaxation can come in many ways. Fresh air and habitation near animals will break from your normal life and will provide relaxation through the simple fact of not doing the same things you would typically do. In addition, although you'd be learning about ranch work, the owners will make sure you do work appropriate for your activity level and capabilities so that you do not have to feel stressed.
Additionally, many dude ranches nowadays are aware of people's needs for relaxation and function more as an attraction. These luxury dude ranches will often have play rooms, pools, and only designated activity times instead of asking guests to participate fully in the ranch experience.
Activities to do at a Dude Ranch
- Cattle Driving
- Cow Milking
- Horse Riding
- Hiking and Trails
- Bird Watching
- Dancing (country style)
- Other outside activities (kayaking, fishing, woodcutting)
Why is a Dude Ranch called a Dude Ranch?
If you think a dude ranch is a place where dudes are created, it's not quite it. "Dude" wasn't always just a substitute word for a guy. In the past, a dude meant a well-dressed person. In other words, it meant a well-off city person. So when these middle or upper class folk came to the countryside, with little or no riding or hunting experience, to experience country life, dude ranches were created. Country people were willing to help the city people learn about their lives and guide them through the experiences of riding horses, caring for animals, and in some cases hunting.
Nowadays, dude ranches really just means a ranch for visitors. The historic negative connotation with the term, however, has led some ranches to start calling themselves "guest ranches".
Popularity of Dude Ranches
Dude ranches were popular in early 20th century thanks to the depictions of cowboys and their lives through movies. People were willing to dress up as cowboys and don the lifestyle - temporarily - to connect with their favorite movie characters.
President Theodore Roosevelt was also an avid fan of dude ranches. With the rising train advancements, it became fairly easy for people to travel to the country side to join these guest ranches over the summer.
- What Am I Going to Do - Dude Ranchers\' Association
Activites at our member dude ranches include horseback riding, programs for children, bird watching, nature walks, and, most important, relaxation!
- Eastward Ho!
- The Meanings and Suggested Etymologies of 'Dude'